The Stamps of the Morocco Agencies British Post Offices

3/05/2012     Morocco Agencies

In 1898 the Spanish currency partially collapsed as a result of the Spanish- American War, and it was decided that Gibraltar should revert to British sterling. As the Spanish currency was used by all the foreign agencies in Morocco, it was not possible to make the same change at the British agency.

The Gibraltar post office decided to overprint their stamps, which were still in Spanish currency, with the words 'Morocco Agencies'. These stamps would only be valid across the straits for just a few months, as later that year Gibraltar (and her stamps) reverted to sterling.

These first overprints were applied at the offices of the Gibraltar Chronicle and are listed by Stanley Gibbons as numbers 1 to 8. Due to the rather old worn print, a wide range of chiefly non-constant varieties exist, alongside the well known inverted 'V' for 'A' and long tail to 'S' flaws.

A further overprinting was undertaken by De La Rue in London, and was put on sale sometime in early 1899. These overprints were of a much higher quality and are listed as the British P.O.s second set, SG 9/16. A number of varieties are also known on this issue.

The overprinting continued on Gibraltar's KEVII stamps, but with one important change. Instead of surcharging in Spanish currency (as Gibraltar's stamps were now in sterling), the Centimos and Peseta duty plates as used for the Gibraltar 1889-95, were inserted into the design, creating beneath the 'Morocco Agencies' overprints, a totally different Gibraltar stamp to that available in Gibraltar itself!

There follows a fascinating array of overprints and currency surcharges, until the final issues of the Tangier International Zone were withdrawn in 1957.

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